• 9 October 1943
  • Mission #5
  • Target: Gdynia-Danzig

The primary target for the Second Bombardment Division was the submarine slips at Danzig with a secondary target being the shipyards at Gdynia. The two yards at Danzig accounted for 13.5 percent of total German U-boat production and it was expected they would produce even more in the next year. Gdynia was also an important target with the several German battle cruisers, battleships, and heavy and light cruisers in port.

With many aircraft and experienced crews still in Africa, the 14th Combat Wing could muster only 26 aircraft and the 2nd Combat Wing, 35 aircraft. Early returns reduced the number of effective aircraft to just 51 and, in effect, the two Wings flew as composite groups.

The 392nd BG's 14 planes got off 16 minutes late due to the difficulty experienced in a last-minute effort to install bomb-bay tanks. Four aborted (3 pre-target for mechanical and personnel problems and 1 over the target due to equipment malfunctions). The route to the I.P. was as briefed with no opposition. Cloud cover at the target was about 3/10 with good visibility except in the target areas where there were very effective smoke screens.

Just prior to the I.P., 392nd BG commander LtCol Irvine Rendle changed the bombing altitude from 22,000 to 21,000 feet due to prop wash of the 2nd Wing. As the altitude change was being effected, lead bombardier 1/Lt Joseph W. Westbrook was taking control of the aircraft. In his after-action report, he wrote, "I could not see the target, either through the bombsight, or out of the glass under the turret. I let the aircraft remain on the same course it was on at the I.P. The visibility was limited from where I was, and also poor due to haze. It was about 30 seconds before I could see the smoke screen over the target. At that time, I noticed that we were coming in at almost right angles to the coast, while we should have been coming in at quite an acute angle to it. Also it appeared that the smoke screen was too close to the edge of the water for where the primary target should have been. " At that point, the bombsight failed to function, but being so close to what he thought was the target, he toggled the bombs with the rest of the 392nd and 44th BG planes dropping also.

The 392nd dropped (132) 500-pound General Purpose bombs which fell about four miles short of Gdynia in a wooded area. B-17 units (109 planes) had Gdynia as their primary target and their bombing was considered very good.

Slight to moderate, but accurate, heavy flak was encountered over Gdynia during the bombing run. Enemy fighter opposition was light, with 20-25 aircraft engaging the formation while over the islands and peninsula of Denmark on the way back from the target. The attacks began at 1430 hours at 5420N-1210E at 12,300 feet and continued until 1528 hours when the 392nd was out over the North Sea. The gunners had six claims. No B-24s were lost on this mission, but nine suffered battle damage.

Due to the length of this mission, elaborate air-sea rescue procedures were promulgated in the event planes ran out of gas over water. 2BD ASR aircraft would fly parallel searches one-half mile apart. Per the 2BD teletype, "If dinghy is sighted one aircraft will immediately climb to 3000 ft and transmit their call sign and message 'dinghy sighted' and get radio fix. One plane will continue to circle dinghy until help arrives. Others may attempt to contact surface boats which will be in area and lead them to dinghy."

The Royal Navy would augment these ASR services with destroyers and corvettes and other ASR vessels; they would be prepared to search along a line running from Cromer to 5525-0820E. Per Annex No. 1 to the field order, "These ships will be at instant readiness awaiting to react SOS messages from ditching air craft."

flagline
The duration of this raid was one of the longest flown by any bombardment unit over Europe at the time, about 9 hours round-trip. The top map is a more detailed version of the right half of the bottom map.
Click on images to enlarge.
Click on images to enlarge.
Click on image to enlarge
This bomb plot shows the results of the B-17s that bombed Gdynia. The 392nd and 44th BG bombs fell about 3 miles west of what is shown in this photo.

CREW LOADING LIST - MISSION #5

9 Oct 1943 576th Sqdn.
A/C 487
P Gurney, J.J. Capt.
CP Kearns, L.L. 2nd Lt.
N Ryan, J.L. Jr. 2nd Lt.
B Westerfield, H.B. Jr. 2nd Lt.
R Veronick, J.J. T/Sgt.
AR Connelly, J.J. Sgt.
E Lewis, G.F. S/Sgt.
AE Helmes ,C.F. S/Sgt.
G Ortiz, J.C. Sgt.
AG Pedersen, F.M. S/Sgt.
9 Oct 1943 576th Sqdn.
A/C 543
P Champion, A.S. 2nd Lt.
CP Hebron, W.T. 2nd Lt.
N McDonald, L.F. 2nd Lt.
B Handelman, L. 2nd Lt.
R Sibert, V.L. S/Sgt.
AR Hussey, T.J. S/Sgt.
E Decker, C.D. T/Sgt.
AE Orzech, J.H. S/Sgt.
G Halsne, M.O. S/Sgt.
AG Devoe, C.N. S/Sgt.
9 Oct 1943 576th Sqdn.
A/C 500 (abort)
P LoPresto, H.C. 2nd Lt.
CP Ford, J.H. 2nd Lt.
N Duncan, R.H. 2nd Lt.
B Feldman, A. 1st Lt.
R Ross, E.S. T/Sgt.
AR Gilliam, E.L. S/Sgt.
E Hawkins, G.H. T/Sgt.
AE Westall, F.M. S/Sgt.
G Sambanis, G. Cpl.
AG Reardon, P.M. Sgt.
9 Oct 1943 576th Sqdn.
A/C 511
P Lowell, C.L. 2nd Lt.
CP Patterson, J.B. 2nd Lt.
N McShane, W.F. 2nd Lt.
B Amoss, R.T. 2nd Lt.
R Connolly, M.T. S/Sgt.
AR Youst, K.E. S/Sgt.
E Bennett, L.G. S/Sgt.
AE Jackson, B.F. S/Sgt.
G McNamara, P.E. S/Sgt.
AG Luciano, R.E. S/Sgt.
9 Oct 1943 576th Sqdn.
A/C 540
P Becker, J.R. 1st Lt.
CP Roddy, W.H. 2nd Lt.
N Feller, L. 2nd Lt.
B Miller, D.A. 2nd Lt.
R Vovos, A.D. T/Sgt.
AR Williams, A.L. Jr. Sgt.
E Peterson, H.C. S/Sgt.
AE Williams, R.F. S/Sgt.
G Smith, K.B. S/Sgt.
AG Longchamps, A.L. S/Sgt.
9 Oct 1943 576th Sqdn.
A/C 561 (did not take off)
P Clover, D.K. 2nd Lt.
CP Berger, R.M. 2nd Lt.
N McMillan, W.J. 2nd Lt.
B McDonald, P.R. 2nd Lt.
R Galler, I. T/Sgt.
AR Bell, R.W. S/Sgt.
E Losey, J.C. T/Sgt.
AE Crawford, E.G. Jr. S/Sgt.
G Ross, J.M. S/Sgt.
AG Royal, C.K. Sgt.
9 Oct 1943 577th Sqdn.
A/C 491
P Copp, R.D. 1st Lt.
CP Myers, J. 2nd Lt.
N Gries, R.F. 2nd Lt.
B Kelley, J.J. 2nd Lt.
R Bisnett, B.R. S/Sgt.
AR Nowicki, M.M. T/Sgt.
E Hodge, G.L. S/Sgt.
AE Shaw, L.S. Sgt.
G Noone, T.E. Jr. Sgt.
AG Hohman, H. S/Sgt.
9 Oct 1943 577th Sqdn.
A/C 495
CA Taylor, W.V. Maj.
P Graper, M.H. 1st Lt.
CP Williamson, D.R. 2nd Lt.
N Jones, J.H. 2nd Lt.
B Rapenport, R. 2nd Lt.
R Lorenzen, W.H. T/Sgt.
AR Kolczynski, W.J. S/Sgt.
E McKinley, W.C. T/Sgt.
AE White, F.A. S/Sgt.
G Cordick, D.H. Sgt.
AG Buzick, J.M. S/Sgt.
9 Oct 1943 577th Sqdn.
A/C 503
P Marfia, F. 1st Lt.
CP Bondar, N.D. 2nd Lt.
N Delach, J.J. 2nd Lt.
B Salsberg, M. 2nd Lt.
R Brown, K.O. T/Sgt.
AR DeSimone, P.P. S/Sgt.
E Sekavec, R.G. T/Sgt.
AE Emerson, H.B. Jr. S/Sgt.
G Simpson, J.F. S/Sgt.
AG Cunningham, W.A. Sgt.
9 Oct 1943 577th Sqdn.
A/C 496
P Taylor, J.N. 2nd Lt.
CP Stout, R.R. 2nd Lt.
N Pautz, W.J. 2nd Lt.
B Lange, E.M. 2nd Lt.
R Zdanarvich, B.J. T/Sgt.
AR Blaney, M.L. S/Sgt.
E Albee, W.K. T/Sgt.
AE Keller, A.V. S/Sgt.
G Gray, D.W. S/Sgt.
AG Osterheld, J.J. S/Sgt.
9 Oct 1943 577th Sqdn.
A/C 479
P Lambert, R.P. 2nd Lt.
CP Haviland, A.F. 2nd Lt.
N Kapp, R.A. 2nd Lt.
B Godfrey, H.M. 2nd Lt.
R Brown, J.S. T/Sgt.
AR Day, W.N. S/Sgt.
E Reese, W.J. T/Sgt.
AE Tantum, W.R. S/Sgt.
G Taylor, G.E. S/Sgt.
AG Pfeifer, A.R. S/Sgt.
9 Oct 1943 577th Sqdn.
A/C 493
P Bolick, H.P. Jr. 2nd Lt.
CP Smith, H.J. 2nd Lt.
N Maupin, J.C. 2nd Lt.
B Yarbrough, A.L. Jr. 2nd Lt.
R Campbell, G.L. T/Sgt.
AR Klinchok, J.J. S/Sgt.
E Love, W.E. T/Sgt.
AE Krogh, S.A. Sgt.
G Craig, J.D. S/Sgt.
AG Harris, D.W. S/Sgt.
9 Oct 1943 577th Sqdn.
A/C 556
P Egan, R.L. 2nd Lt.
CP Basham, F.G. 2nd Lt.
N Harris, W.B. 2nd Lt.
B Gray, W.L. 2nd Lt.
R Pope, F.B. T/Sgt.
AR Stogner, O.T. S/Sgt.
E Hurley, W.F. T/Sgt.
AE Hurley, A. S/Sgt.
G Salisbury, J.F. S/Sgt.
AG Kennedy, B.S. S/Sgt.
9 Oct 1943 578th Sqdn.
A/C 484 (did not take off)
P Lishka, A. 1st Lt.
CP Feld, B.H. 2nd Lt.
N Johnson, D.C. 2nd Lt.
B Brockway, O.E. 2nd Lt.
R Clark, F.C. S/Sgt.
AR Harrod, C. Jr. S/Sgt.
E Carlson, C.E. S/Sgt.
AE Halstead, H.C. S/Sgt.
G Drylie, J. S/Sgt.
AG Murphy, H.G. Jr. S/Sgt.
9 Oct 1943 578th Sqdn.
A/C 626 (abort)
P Fogarty, D.M. 2nd Lt.
CP Walker, R.S. 2nd Lt.
N Ott, J.W. 2nd Lt.
B Parish, J.K. 2nd Lt.
R Louizides, S. T/Sgt.
AR Smith, W.W. S/Sgt.
E Slama, A.R. T/Sgt.
AE Painter, R.E. S/Sgt.
G Nuzum, M.E. S/Sgt.
AG Kurkomelis, G.C. S/Sgt.
9 Oct 1943 578th Sqdn.
A/C 472
CA Rendle, I.A. Lt.Col.
P Edwards, C.E. 1st Lt.
CP Taylor, G.H. 2nd Lt.
N Untiedt, L.F. 1st Lt.
B Westbrook, J.W. 1st Lt.
R Braddock, W.A. T/Sgt.
AR Medel, M.N. Cpl.
E Mellow, N.J. T/Sgt.
AE LeBleu, L.W. S/Sgt.
G Hill, R.E. S/Sgt.
AG Phelps, G.A. Sgt.
9 Oct 1943 578th Sqdn.
A/C 490 (did not take off)
P Steinmetz, D.R. 1st Lt.
CP Sporrey, R.F. 2nd Lt.
N Magee, W.H. 2nd Lt.
B Joachim, W.F. 2nd Lt.
R Jeans, R.C. T/Sgt.
AR MacKenzie, W.B. Pvt.
E Elliot, M.L. T/Sgt.
AE Perry, E.L. S/Sgt.
G Mislinski, G.J. S/Sgt.
AG Spalding, R.E. S/Sgt.
9 Oct 1943 578th Sqdn.
A/C 478 (did not take off)
P Reade, J.J. 1st Lt.
CP Smith, R.L. 2nd Lt.
N Planche, M.M. 1st Lt.
B Ziccarelli, J.A. 2nd Lt.
R Schwabel, C.A. T/Sgt.
AR Bauer, W.E. S/Sgt.
E Sackal, W.M. T/Sgt.
AE Sikoff, H. Sgt.
G Turner, L.F. S/Sgt.
AG Wagner, D.R. S/Sgt.
9 Oct 1943 579th Sqdn
Of the 8 planes dispatched,
6 returned early. These two crews
flew with the 67th Sqdn, 44th BG.
9 Oct 1943 579th Sqdn.
A/C 161
P Cassell, H.S. 1st Lt.
CP Colvin, J.A. F/O.
N Bevan, K.S. 2nd Lt.
B Cetin, W.F. 2nd Lt.
R Tribbett, L.L. Sgt.
AR Geary, N.W. Sgt.
E Heuser, W.M. Sgt.
AE Dobrowolski, C.J. S/Sgt.
G Yarbrough, W.L. Sgt.
AG Rothrock, C.T. S/Sgt.
9 Oct 1943 579th Sqdn.
A/C ?
P Baumgart, V.A. 2nd Lt.
CP Cordes, W.C. 2nd Lt.
N Crouch, M.C. 2nd Lt.
B Stupski, S.J. 2nd Lt.
R Kiss, J. S/Sgt.
AR Yost, J.W. S/Sgt.
E Myers, H.C. S/Sgt.
AE Smith, D.L. S/Sgt.
G Fons, J.P. S/Sgt.
AG Money, J.A. S/Sgt.